Visa for Indonesia

Before coming to Indonesia you need to know main things about vaccines and visas. Here I will try to share main information about visas for Indonesia.

After making some research I found out that in different countries, Indonesian embassies have a bit different rules for visas. Before starting making visa, first of all you need to contact Indonesian embassy in your country to get information concrete for your country citizens (or nearest country that is responsible to make visas for your country citizens. For example Indonesian embassy in Denmark responsible as well for visas issue for Lithuanians).

Notice: all information prepared according 12 2017 news.

Visa types, requirements and extension

Free Visa for short visit (BVKS)
Visa-free is 30 days permission to stay in Indonesia. The list of countries whose citizens can get such visa.
Visitors with the visa-free facility will be able to proceed directly to the immigration clearance counter after deplaning.

Requirements:

  • Passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months, from the date of arrival to Indonesia
  • Onward or return tickets must be shown on arrival

Extension
The visa free facility does not allow the change into other permits or extension.

Visa on arrival (VOA)
Visa on arrival can be obtained directly when you are landed at major Indonesian entry points.
Visa on arrival is given to a person who has come with holiday/leisure, business or social visit purposes in Indonesia. The maximum length of stay is 30 days.
The list of countries whose citizens can have Visa on arrival.

Arrival and departure card. Since April 1st 2015 it is not necessary anymore to fill the form and to hand it over to the immigration officer at the immigration desk.  But you should keep your boarding pass and show it to the immigration officer.

Requirements:

  • Passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months, from the date of arrival to Indonesia
  • Return ticket is compulsory
  • Need to pay visa fee (preferably in cash) – 35 USD

The immigration officer at the port of entry may ask the passenger to produce any necessary documents (such as hotel reservation and proof of finance).

Extension
Can be extended once for extra 30 days at the Immigration office in Indonesia.
But, to apply for this type of visa, it is better to inform the immigration officers of your intentions to renew at the time of getting your visa on arrival.
To extend visa costs an additional 35 USD.

Overstay visitors incur a penalty of 20 USD per day for under 60 days over-stay. More than 60 days over-stay may incur a 5 year prison sentence or a fine of 25 000 000 Rp (~1 879 USD).

Visa before arriving
Citizens of other countries not on the visa on arrival or visa free lists will be required to apply for a visa overseas – in their home country – before entering Indonesia. Citizens of any country wishing to stay more than 30 days must also apply for an appropriate visa (cultural visit or business visit) at their nearest Indonesian Embassy or Consulate before traveling to Indonesia.

Nationals of San Marino require visa at all times including for transit. Otherwise other nationalities can transit through Indonesian airports for up to 8 hours.

Nationals of Afghanistan, Cameroon, Guinea, Iraq, Israel, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, and Somalia require an approval from Immigration Office in Indonesia before travelling for Business, Tourist and Social Visits purposes. This policy is called “Indonesian Calling Visa”.

Temporary stay visa
This type of visa is issued to an applicant:
  • setting up or expanding an investment which involves a substantial amount of capital in Indonesia;
  • invited to work for his/her professional expertise by the Indonesian government, private company or Non-Governmental Organization;
  • joining Indonesian parents/ parents having the Indonesian Temporary or Permanent Resident Card;
  • joining Indonesian husband/ spouse having the Indonesian Temporary or Permanent Resident Card;
  • ex Indonesian citizens to repatriate to Indonesia.

To apply for this type of visa, an applicant has to have a bona fide Indonesian sponsor living in Indonesia. Indonesian sponsor will set up the administratively paper works to the Indonesian Labor Department and Immigration office.

If the application is approved, the Immigration office will send an approval to the Indonesian Mission located closely to the applicant country of residence.

Requirements:

  • Valid passport (18 months beyond the entry date)
  • Approval from the Immigration Director General
  • 2 visa application forms with 2 pictures
  • Curriculum Vitae form
  • A good of conduct letter from the nearby police office
  • A certified copy of university diploma/certificate of professional teacher
  • Copy of itinerary/tickets
  • Proof of visa payment

Temporary Stay Visa is issued for a single entry. After his/her arrival in Indonesia, the visa holder is required to contact the nearby Immigration office sooner to apply for a Temporary Stay Card. A Temporary Stay Card holder requires exit-reentry permit anytime he/she’ll leave and re-enter Indonesia.

Single entry visa (official, business, social-cultural, vacation)
A single entry visa is issued for those traveling to Indonesia for official visit (diplomatic/service), business trip, social-cultural or vacation (holiday/tourist). In some places it can be named separately “Tourist visa”, “Social-cultural visa”, “Business visa”.
As well can be made “Collective visit visa” (for a group from 5 to 25 people) and “Multiple business visit visa” (this visa is issued to an applicant who frequently makes business trips to Indonesia within 1 year).

A single entry visa is valid for 2 months from the date of issuance

Requirements:

  • Need to fill in the visa application form
  • Copy of itinerary ticket
  • Support letter/letter from company in your country (for Business trip)
  • Invitation from family/company/counterpart in Indonesia (for Social-cultural visit) (here are 2 examples)
  • Proof of visa payment
  • Original Passport (should be valid 6 months from the date of arrival in Indonesia)
  • 2 recent photographs
  • Copy of identification card

Extension
Social-cultural visa and Tourist visa allow to extend 4 times (each time for 1 month).
Visa can be extended in Indonesia. Extension of Business and Social-Cultural visas can be obtained at the Directorate General of Immigration. While the extension of Diplomatic and Service visa will be done through Directorate for Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Diplomatic visa
Diplomatic visa is granted to foreign nationals holding Diplomatic passport who visit Indonesia for diplomatic assignments. Particular assignment shall obtain approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

Requirements:

  • Need to fill in the visa application form
  • Should have Diplomatic Note from Ministry of Foreign Affairs from your country
  • Original Diplomatic Passport (should be valid 6 months from the date of arrival in Indonesia)
  • 2 recent photographs

Service visa
Service visa is granted to foreign nationals holding Service or Official Passport who visit Indonesia for official assignments. Particular assignment shall obtain approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

Requirements:

  • Need to fill in the visa application form
  • Should have Diplomatic Note from Ministry of Foreign Affairs from your country
  • Invitation letter from counterpart in Indonesia
  • Original Service or Official Passport (should be valid 6 months from the date of arrival in Indonesia)
  • 2 recent photographs

Transit visa
Foreign nationals wishes to make stop over in Indonesian territory before continuing their trip to another country or to their home country, to join or work on a transport vehicle that will continue its trip to another country, will need Transit Visa, allowing to stay for 14 days during 30 days period.

Requirements:

  • Need to fill in the visa application form
  • Should have copy of itinerary ticket
  • For those joining a transport vehicle must provide copy of work contract
  • Invitation letter from counterpart in Indonesia
  • Proof of visa payment
  • Original Service or Official Passport (should be valid 6 months from the date of arrival in Indonesia)
  • 2 recent photographs

Non-ordinary passports
Holders of non-ordinary passports issued by the following countries are allowed to visit Indonesia without a visa:
(D — diplomatic passports; O — official passports; S — service passports; Sp — special passports)

Afghanistan D S
Argentina D O
Austria D S
Azerbaijan D S
Bangladesh D O
Belarus D O
Bosnia and Herzegovina D S
Brazil D O
Bulgaria D S
China D S
Colombia D O S
Croatia D S
Cuba D O
Ecuador D O Sp
France D S
Georgia D S
Hungary D S
India D O
Iran D S
Kazakhstan D S
Kyrgyzstan D S
Macedonia D O
Mexico D O
Moldova D O S
Mongolia D O
Nicaragua D O S
North Korea D O S
Pakistan D O
Paraguay D O
Poland D S
Portugal D S Sp
Russia D S
Slovakia D S
Slovenia D S
South Korea D O
Sri Lanka D O
Suriname D S
Switzerland D S
Timor-Leste D O S
Tunisia D Sp
Turkey D S Sp
United Arab Emirates D S
Uruguay D O
Venezuela D S

Additional information:
  • There are restricted regions in Indonesia. The 4 regions are: Maluku, Poso, and Irian Jaya/West Papua. Applicants seeking to visit the restricted regions must obtain special authorization from Indonesian authorities.
  • To avoid the long wait at airports to apply for a visa on arrival, and if you want to stay for 60 days, you can apply for a Visit visa at the Indonesian consular office in your home country. The consular office at Indonesian embassies (outside of Indonesia) can issue a 60-day Visit visa.
  • Beware of the day counting trap! The way the immigration officials’ count stay period is: the day of arrival counts as day one. The day of departure also counts. For example you have 30-days visa, you arrive on the 1st day, you must leave on the 30th day (not the 31st or the first of the next month). Even if you leave 5 min. after midnight, it will be counted as a full new day. If you overstay you will have to pay a penalty of 200 000 Rp per day. Up to 3 days is usually no problem, you will simply pay the fee at the immigration counter.
  • Nothing to declare? You will still be given a tax card (if not, pick one in the arrival hall). Just tick everywhere “no” unless you need to declare something (it’s not allowed to bring in cash of more than 10 000 USD). Officers will collect the card when you exit through customs.
  • More information about KITAS and other permits cards in Indonesia, you can find here.

Visa extension in Yogyakarta

If you have visa on arrival and want to extend it, here you will find practical information how to do that in Yogyakarta city. About other visas extension procedure I don’t know yet. Like will make it later, so will share information later as well.

Note that, the immigration office asks that all visitors dress “properly” meaning covered shoulders and knees.

Where is Immigration office

Immigration officeImmigration office in Yogyakarta located beside Yogyakarta International Adisucipto airport
JL. Solo KM.10 PO BOX 19 YKAP

Opening hours:
Mon – Thur (8:00-12:00) – (13:00 -14:00), Friday (8:30-11:30) – (13:00 -14:00)
(also check that the days you want to go is not an Indonesian holiday. Then all extension process might take longer).

How to reach immigration office
Coming from the airport:
  • Exiting the airport, turn left and walk until you come to the parking are.
  • Turn right, walking through the parking are until you come the main street (Jl. Solo).
  • Turn left and the immigration office will be fairly immediately on your left.

Coming from downtown of Yogyakarta:

  • Take bus 1A on the TransYogya public bus system from Jl. Malioboro (3 000 Rp). It takes ~1 hour each way.
  • The bus will drop you off in front of the airport (the last stop).
  • To get from airport to office follow the instructions above.
  • You can also take a “becak” (~30-40,000 Rp, you’ll need to haggle!) or taxi (~50-60,000 Rp) which will get you there faster.

What you need to have with you
You need to have such documents:
  • Passport
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of Indonesian Visa (make sure stamp date is visible)
  • Exit ticket (yeah, you will need to show it)
  • Copy of exit ticket
  • Application for Visa extension form (they’ll give you this at the office)
  • 350 000 Rp fee for extension

How the extension process looks like
  • If possible arrive with all documents as early as you can in the morning.
  • In the front desk at the immigration office will provide you a file folder with visa extension form.
  • Fill out the application form and put inside all your documents. The immigration officials should tell you to come back in 2 days.
  • If possible arrive after 2 days as early as you can (better before 10:00 am).
  • Pay the 355 000 Rp fee, get your picture and fingerprints taken.
  • Next day pick up your passport with new visa.

Try to understand the process :D


Visa extension in Bali


Visa making outside Indonesia

If you want to stay in Indonesia longer than your visa valid and you already made all possible extensions, you must leave the country and re-enter with a new visa.
People commonly fly to Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore to make new visa. There is no stipulation on the time you must stay outside Indonesia, in fact, you can return the same day if you want and be issued a new visa upon your arrival in Indonesia.

I was making my “Tourist visa” for 60 days in Penang island, Malaysia. Here is practical information from my experience.

If you have new information, feel free to share it in comments. Thank you :)

Some information used from internet sources.

Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

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Yogyakarta – “temple day”

Mostly people plan to stay in Yogyakarta only 2 days: visit famous UNESCO heritage temples Borobudur and Prambanan. If they have interest – climb the Merapi volcano at night or visit Merapi area – Kaliurang during the day time (rent a jeep for volcano tour). As well if they have free time – visit Kraton (“Sultane palace”), Taman Sari (“Water castle”), Malioboro street (“Jl. Malioboro”), Beringharjo market (Pasar Beringharjo) and some other places.

But in Yogyakarta area, not far from the city center are more interesting places to see :). I and my friend made 1 day trip (with motorbike) visiting temples (including famous ones), different local village and waterfall. We didn’t plan to visit only temples, but started to search what possible to see around all places it became like a trip – “temple day”:). Here is itinerary and some my impressions for those who would like to explore more of Yogyakarta are:

Teletubbies village (Teletubbies desa) – Twin waterfall in Wukirharjo village (Air terjun Kembar Wukirharjo) – Twin temple (Candi Plaosan) – Prambanan temple (Candi Prambanan) – Ratu Boko temple (Candi Ratu Boko).

We started the journey at 11.30 am from Yogyakarta south (Kasongan).

Dome house
Dome houses

First we visited Teletubbies (Teletubbies desa) – the dome houses. It took us ~1 hour of drive from Yogyakarta to the village. I read article about this village disaster and how people managed to continue the life in the unique houses. The uniqueness is dome-shaped houses, namely round semicircle. They look like the homes of people eskimo and nothing common with Javanese houses. And it’s the only such houses in all Indonesia. These houses were built after the earthquake that had occurred in the hamlet of Sengir, Sumberharjo, Yogyakarta in 2006. We visited this village already 9 years after the earthquake and village doesn’t look like the same when it was built and the view that I saw in the photos. Naturally after so many years, all area now green again, people started to build additional house beside dome houses, build shops in Javanese style houses and etc. just continued to live like they were used to before earthquake. Some of the houses already repaired, colored and empty. The village view no more so impressive but is worth to visit. Just to see how such shape houses looks in Indonesian nature, even to see how Indonesian people understand and how to get used to live in such houses – the round shape is not in their “blood” for sure :). As well it’s possible there to climb small hills and visit other, more traditional villages and see nice panoramic view from the top (we didn’t do it this time, but I heard this from my local friends). Some travel agencies even suggesting travel tours to this village, but not many foreigners comes here, so people not so used to see them. Till I was making some pictures, passed two girls on motorbike, when they saw me – they stopped just in the middle of the street. They were so excited and with a bit “broken” English asked if they can make picture with me. Like after living in Indonesia I was a bit tired every time to take a picture with locals and I said myself that never again will do that, those girls were so honest and happy – that I couldn’t resist to say “maaf, tidak” (“sorry, no”). After making photos with me, maybe 10 min., they were jumping around with happiness and joy :). Sometimes for Indonesians doesn’t need a lot to feel happy :).

 

Twin waterfall
At visiting time, some local kids were playing there, swimming.

Next our stop was – Twin waterfall (Air terjun Kembar Wukirharjo) – it takes ~10-15 min. from Teletubbies village. Near waterfall there are quite vertical part of route. Unfortunately not all bikes are strong enough and can go up with two people. We were not exclusion. I get down from motorbike and walked up by foot (it’s not long way) and my friend very slowly was going up with motorbike. So we had not enough strong motorbike :). The view from the parking area quite nice – possible to see some hills in horizon illuminate with sun. There are two paths to go to waterfall – one through waterfall opening and second from down part. In any case which route you will take, you can go around waterfall from up to down or conversely (just you need pass over stones – there is no clear path to go around). The path is a bit slippery and clayey, maybe because we went there when couple days before was a bit rain. In dry season should be drier but in rainy – can be a bit more difficult to pass the path. The waterfall not so big and the flow not so strong, but those two streams look nice. There were no more people (like we went during the week day, most probably during the weekend you can meet there more local people enjoying the view) just few kids who were swimming and playing there (even if the water is quite dirty and you can see some trashes around), so atmosphere was very peaceful. A bit further we saw other kids who were searching for stones and making round shapes for rings. Some of the people just like how the stone looks in the ring, others believes that it can give some power. So the kids collecting those stones and can sell each for ~ 10 000 Rp. We stayed there for ~30-40 min. and continued our trip.

 

Twin templeLater we went to see Twin temple (Candi Plaosan) – it took us ~30-40 min. ride from waterfall. On the way you will see road sign to Ratu Boko temple, but we planned to visit it for sunset (if you want to save some time, you can visit this temple first and end the trip in Prambanan). The way to this temple surrounded by plenty of rice fields and small hills, we enjoyed this ride part.
Even if this temple stands near famous Prambanan temple, not a lot of people go to visit it. This Buddhist temple is divided into two parts, Plaosan Lor (“north”) and Plaosan Kidul (“south”). It’s estimated to be built in the beginning of the 9th century during Rakai Pikatan reign and surrounded by rice fields.
We stopped before entering the temple to make some pictures from further, were you can see both of the temples in front. If you are lucky enough, you can have much better view, when the people work in rice field. Even if there is no admission fee (no price tables), they expect you to donate some money for entrance. I came to entrance gate where security was sitting and showed my KITAS (limited stay permit, that sometimes gives discount or entrance fee like for local people) they asked from me 3 000 Rp for entrance. Its’ not big but cute temple, surrounded by the remains. If you will walk through it, on the ground you can see some patterns, sculptures. When I was visiting this temple there were some Indonesian people, mostly youth couples that was making many pictures in different poses and in each corner, some of them just hiding for have some privacy. So don’t be scared if some of the couple suddenly will come out from the tiny entrance of the temple fence. We spend here ~20 min.

Like we went for the trip during day time, it was quite hot, so we stopped to drink some cold drinks. From Twin temple to Prambanan temple on the way you will see many small “warung’s”. Closer to Prambanan more expensive drinks, so if you are thirsty stop in the middle between both temples.

Candi PrambananFamous Prambanan temple (Candi Prambanan) is located ~ 10 min. from Twin temple. Even it was working day (I thought I will avoid Indonesians to asking pictures with me) but I didn’t know that it was celebration day (Ascension Day) – “red date” event. So I even didn’t enter the temple when three local girls asked a favor me to speak with them in English for English lesson. One girl was filming the conversation with phone, another reading the question and third one just assisting. Like the girls were quite polite, I spend with them ~15 min. and went inside. It was already ~2.30 pm but it was numerous amounts of people – mostly locals and few tourists. Usually during the weekends and celebrations, locals from all around Yogyakarta visiting temples and other places. I was a bit in a hurry because wanted to go ahead all those people, but when I just entered the complex some of the youth groups from school, young couples started to ask picture with me – and usually they don’t ask one picture, they want each separately have one picture with foreigner. One of the guys were more polite, others grabbing my hand and asking “selfy” – so depends on how they came to me I decided to spend time with them or not. Even if the place very beautiful I didn’t enjoy it – because of the people who were asking pictures and don’t let me to see everything properly. So instead of maybe hours of walk around in whole complex – I spend ~ 30 min. The all complex area is quite big, not in a hurry and visiting other smaller temple that is under construction now, you can spend there till two hours for sure :).

 

Ratu BokoAnd after ~15 min. way from Prambanan temple we reached our last destination – Ratu Boko temple (Candi Ratu Boko). Like we wanted to go there to see the spectacular sunset (everywhere this temple presented like this :)), we arrived there ~4 pm. From 3 pm the entrance fee is raised 5 000 Rp, because it’s “sunset time”. In many beautiful places, Indonesians divide the entrance fee for sunrise/sunset and usual hours.

On the way climbing the stairs to the temple on left side you can see Prambanan. Ratu Boko temple area is quite big and nice to walk around. Inside you can go a bit on the hill to see the entire complex. After small walk around I just sit on the land in front of temple and started to wait for sunset. That time not so many people came, but all temple was crowded of people who were making pictures, so to have photos without people – not possible. But even with less people (comparing with Prambanan temple) – here I got attention as well – families with kids were asking pictures, teenagers and etc. At least here were more polite people – before asking the picture with me, asked who I’m, what I’m doing in Yogyakarta and etc. The time passed quickly – and the sun started to come down. The view was really beautiful but I believe that can be even more spectacular. Lately was cloudy so we decided to leave ~5.30 pm but I saw still many people were coming, probably they came with daily Yogyakarta tours after Prambanan temple and I can say they missed the most beautiful view, left only dark clouds :). I heard that it’s possible to get to the temple from another side, but you need to know locals, who would show you the way and as well maybe pay a bit money, but not the same amount like entrance fee.
On the way back in front of the stairs was possible to see the Merapi volcano. Like I left till the sun didn’t get down totally I haven’t seen how the city is lighted, but if you want you can wait more and then you will see nice lightening of Prambanan in the horizon.

So after ~1 hour driving back we reached our home and finished the trip :).

Even if it was quite hot and local people attention to me annoyed a lot but I really enjoy the trip – different views of the land, nature, temples, daily local people life – Indonesia always have what to show.

Have you been in these places? Did you enjoy?:)

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

Route map

Time – ~7 hours
With stops, driving, visiting objects. We were going on 50-60 km/h speed.
We spend (2 people) – 175 000 Rp.
  • Fuel (we fulfill full tank but didn’t spent all) – 29 000 Rp.
  • Parking – 4 000 Rp (in Twin waterfall place and Ratu Boko temple, for Twin temple and Prambanan we parked a bit further from objects for free – in the street).
  • For lunch (we ate in Yogyakarta south before the trip) – 20 000 Rp.
  • Drinks on the way in “warungs” – 8 000 Rp.
  • Entrance fee – Twin temple – 6 000 Rp, Prambanan temple (with KITAS and for local person) – 60 000 Rp, Ratu Boko temple (for sunset entrance) – 48 000 Rp.
Tips
  • It’s possible to visit just Prambanan, Twin and Ratu Boko temples with public transport. From the city Jl. Malioboro take bus 1A (pass the airport to Prambanan). From Prambanan you can walk or take “becak” to Twin temple. And after you will come back to Prambanan take “becak” to Ratu Boko temple (ask driver to come again on certain time and he will drive you back to Prambanan from where you can go back to the city).
  • It’s possible to start the trip earlier when not so hot and not so big amount people comes to famous places, but this time all the timing was built by the final destination Ratu Boko temple. If not the sunset, probably the journey we would start at 7 or 8 am.
  • Visiting waterfall take some shoes suitable to get wet and climb in slippery way and through clay.
  • It’s your choices to stop with everyone to take a picture and speak English for lessons. But if you don’t want this – just don’t have an eye contact with locals, try to pass bigger amount groups in hurry or just say “maaf, tidak” (“sorry, no”). In this case you can get back questions “why”, some pleases. So you can just smile and go away or finally agree to make a picture. But if others will see that you agreed to take a picture with someone, they as well will come to you.
  • If in Twin temple they will ask more money for entrance, don’t forget that it’s donation, with smile give the amount that you want to pay and then just go inside, like no price is listed there.
  • Visiting Ratu Boko temple, try to come earlier ~ 4 pm (even when the sun starts to go down ~5 pm), like you will never know what the weather will be and when the clouds will come out. So better to see something than nothing, like those daily tours groups that came after 5 pm.
  • Take with you sun cream, water (drinks) and snacks :).

If you need a guide in Yogyakarta and around I can recommend – Hendra


Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

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Tips for safe travel in Lombok island

Lombok is very beautiful island with variety things which you can see and do there. As well, it’s not too big one, so most destinations you can reach by driving couple of hours. Most travelers come to Lombok during dry season and to most popular destinations, like Senggigi, Kuta beaches, 3 Gili islands and etc. But during rainy season, in some places you feel like spending time in small part of paradise – no people and surrounding just breathe taking.

In other hand, sometimes in paradise as well can be some danger. I think, the main thing – if you hear that people warn you, take it seriously. You are just guest, no matter from which country, how strong you are and etc. Don’t over value yourself in other country, where people live, think, and act differently than in your surroundings.

When people talk about bad experiences, others, sometimes start to think, that this can’t happen to them. That’s why, long time I didn’t want to share this post, but after some happenings with foreigners in Lombok, made me change my mind. I don’t say that “don’t go to Lombok, it’s dangerous” (like bad things can happen in any place around the world). I just want to share about what you need to be careful. Then you will have safe travel in Lombok and I believe you will fully enjoy the trip.

When we were planning a trip to Lombok (for 3 weeks in rainy season) I read some stories about not nice experiences there. But at that time I thought “Ok, people was just unlucky, maybe some things happen because of their own behavior, nothing bad can happen with us”. When we arrived and met with Indonesian friends, showed our route map – we got the same warnings from them, saying in which parts of Lombok we should be more careful. Then I started worry a bit more. So we followed their suggestions and advice. I’m happy that nothing happened with us, but we saw and heard stories from locals, foreigners who had incidents at that time there.

So here are tips for safe travel in Lombok

When is more safe to travel?
You know that crimes never choose time or place, anything can happen anytime. But there are some common things that happen recently in Lombok.

In Indonesia there are only 2 seasons – dry and rainy. In Lombok even during rainy season can be more dry than in other islands. For example, during our 3 weeks trip, was raining only couple times and at night.

On dry season in Lombok will be more travelers. In any destination you will go, you will meet people on the way, in beaches, visiting other places. Less chance to happen something bad. Like more people will be around who could help you in emergency case and more witness if somebody would want to robber you. But more people around as well has bad side – hard to see who, when and how made a crime.

On rainy season – everywhere is less people, on the roads as well. And around some roads don’t live anyone, so more chances for crimes. But if you will follow advice about timing, how take care of your things, which roads not to choose – everything will be fine.

You should know as well that low season in Lombok counted from January to June; September to December. Low season is a great time to negotiate deals on accommodations and find cheap hotel packages.
High season is on July; September; Chinese New Year and Easter week. Accommodation is harder to find and almost as expensive as in peak season. Roads aren’t as congested as at peak, but it is still difficult to get around with ease.
Peak time is on August; from end of December to beginning of January. The roads become heavily congested. Expect to pay almost double for accommodations, will be harder to barge with sellers. As well the same condition will be during Indonesian holidays.

How to choose safer place to stay?
Don’t search only for cheapest accommodation. Like it’s most probably will be a bit further from peoples living area, center. Choose places where some other hostels/hotels/home-stays are, around lives local people. Important as well, to check if that place have secured parking area. Like there are people who steal motorbikes just in front of hotels – if there is no security.

In Sekotong we stayed in Krisna Bungalows and restaurant, in Kuta Lombok – Seger Reef. Both places were with security parking, fence around territory.

Which time of the day is not safe?
Our local friends suggested us come back to a place where we stay till 8 pm. This advice they gave us for Mataram city and South part of Lombok.
After last praying in mosques, roads are quite empty and you, like foreigner, can be more interesting for criminals.
Which crimes happen more often?
Stealing. Thief takes belongings in beaches. As well steal motorbikes and belongings while you are driving or in parking areas. Motorbikes they steal not only from foreigners but from local people as well.

How motorbikes are stolen on the way? First of all, thieves making situations when you need to slow down while you are driving. Usually it’s 2 motorbikes, one comes in front and makes situation you to slow down (like they know you are foreigner, will try drive by rules and won’t go in front of them), and another driver comes beside you, tries to take the keys from your motorbike. Motorbike finally stops or you stop it and they take it from you threaten by knifes.
Really pay attention to what’s ahead of you, if you see anything blocking your way, quickly turn around and go to the nearest village.

Scammers – you can meet them everywhere (read below about them).

On the hills
Beautiful rice paddies view on the way through the hills
Which roads are more safe?
If you are planning to drive by yourself – choose main roads. Yes, the trip time can be longer, but there you will be safer (better road condition, more people drives through it).

If you will drive from North or Central Lombok to South part, you probably will pass some roads through the hills. There won’t be many villages or people. As well you can get lost (no signs on the way). So if you will need to ask directions – don’t stop to ask it in younger men groups (just not to give them a “sign” that you are “easy spoil”). Stop to ask the way to women, elder people. Probably they won’t speak English but show them final destination spot and use body language. Of course better if you would learn couple of Bahasa Indonesian expression for asking the way. But don’t trust first met people fully – Indonesian people are very polite, even if they don’t know the answer, they want to help you and will try to figure out it. Maybe will say not right direction. So to be sure, ask more people in the same area. Kids can be very helpful as well.

Our experience: we had situation when we a bit lost in the hills on the way to South part. We stopped in motorbike service, there were guys hanging around. My friend was Indonesian, so he asked the directions. They told the way but as well asked him strange question “This girl is a virgin? If yes, leave her here, we will know what to do with her”. Even if it was a joke, it’s not nice at all, especially knowing that in Lombok there are some crimes happening.

You should know that people who live in hills area don’t meet foreigners so often. Don’t feel strange if they will stare at you. Just in other islands people wondering and smiling when looking at you, in Lombok, I didn’t feel comfortable when people were looking at me – it was very straight, deep look with flat face.

Which destinations are not safe?
Ask administrator in place you are staying, which roads to choose and go through them, even if it will be longer ones. Listen what locals will say and don’t ignore their advice, they live there most of their life’s, so they know more.

Be extra careful and never to stop for anything at these area:

  • Awang
  • Tanjung Aan
  • All the way towards Selong Belanak
  • All the way towards Pink beach
  • Are Guling

Our experience: from Kuta Lombok we wanted go to Pink beach by route which was more close, administrator in hotel was laughing and asking “From where you came, that you are so brave to go through this way?”. He recommended to choose longer way but more safer – we listen him. Like we were in Lombok during rainy season when less people around, so we didn’t want to give opportunities to be robbed.

As well on the way from Sekotong to Bangko Bangko guys who were collecting money on the road adviced us be careful and park motorbike near our staying, keep eye on it. We did that, like if your motorbike left alone in parking place without any other people, it’s very easy to steal.

We met on the way one surfer who was going to Gerupuk bay and we saw stones in his motorbike pockets. We asked why he has them. He told that day before some robbers tried to steal motorbike from him while he was driving. So he decided to have some stones with him in a case if somebody would try do it again. Like if he will take a knife it can be worst and stones you can just through to a driver, injure him and he will slow down his motorbike.

In Kuta home-stay as well we saw one girl who was injured in the same road day before. Thief stole her motorbike and all her belongings when she was driving. So better drive a motorbike with someone, don’t drive alone.

After taking with people we met who were attacked, we didn’t take with us any bags or purse. Just some amount money (not all) and phone that we kept under the seat, so visually we looked like not carrying anything. As well after meeting that surfer, we collect some stones and put to the plastic bag in front. Maybe it’s sounds funny, but we just wanted to be safe in any case.

So if you go somewhere try to keep as less as possible things with you, not much money, documents (better have copies with you, original leave in safe place).

What you should know about trekking in Mt. Rinjani?
If you want trekking in Mt. Rinjani you need to take a guide. No matter how high you want to climb. You think you are amateur in trekking and nothing hard just go by the path? It’s not right thinking. Like after rainy season some paths are ruin, guides searching for new ones, they know surroundings and know what to do if something happen. As well trekking in Mt. Rinjani not so easy – you need somebody to lead you.

Don’t enter Mt. Rinjani national park in places that is not “official” entrances. In official entrance – you will be registered like traveler and if something will happen people will know that you are missing and will try to find you. There are many case when overconfident travelers where trying find “illegal” ways to enter national park and not pay entrance fee, wanted trekking without guide and what happen? They lost.  Some of them broke body parts and couldn’t take care of themselves. They were staying couples of days without food, water, camping equipment and nobody knew that in national park there are such person. Only in hotel, after couple days people started to ask where is the guest and informed police that the guest didn’t come back couple of days. Somebody heard that he planned trekking and then rescue team was searching for him in Mt Rinjani. Luckily they found him. Probably you don’t want to be in such situation? You can read more stories even which ended with death.

As well, during rainy season trekking in Mt. Rinjani is forbidden. It’s quite dangerous; the water from mountain can come with very strong and high stream. There will be “guides” who will still suggest their service to lead you (of course not to the top) even during the rainy season. Just because they want to get extra money without thinking that it can be dangerous. Especially for people who climb there first time or trekking is not the main activity in their life’s.

So if you want trekking in Mt. Rinjani be wise choosing right time, guides and legal entrance – then you will avoid bad incidents.

What you should know about scammers?
You can meet them in any place and most probably each time they can be more creative. Here are our experiences.

Public ferry port

We were traveling to Lombok with public ferry from Padang Bai port in Bali. Ferry itself was safe. Yes, you are going with many other people ~4-5 hours. Of course you need keep eye on your stuff – but it’s the same in any journey in any country.
But in Mataram port there are “local” rules that you should know. After you will get out from ferry many mans will suggest you their transport to bring you to any destination in Lombok: straight to Gilis, Kuta Lombok or other places. There are no public transports, so you need to use their service, even if you want just go to Mataram center.

Yes, they have taxis, that you could use, BUT no taxi will go to port. Why? Because locals won’t allow them to enter that area, they want to earn money suggesting their cars/buses.
We thought it’s a joke. But when we called the taxi and asked to pick up us (like those man’s transport prices was too crazy, we knew that trip cost less), the taxi refused to come straight to port. They asked us come to a “meeting point” in one of the shops. Till that place it’s walking distance ~20 min. But even we went there, taxi didn’t show up. One guy was following us from port and all the time suggesting his car, we told that “We are waiting taxi, we are fine”. He was just laughing and said – “Taxi won’t come here, they are afraid and we don’t allow them to enter”. So at late evening, waiting more than 30 min. for taxi finally agree take that man service (for 80 000 Rp till Mataram center). His price was much cheaper than those who were in front of the port.

My advice:

  • In ferry find other travelers and agree to share the transport costs (like it will be quite high, they know that you don’t have any other option to get out from port)
  • Negotiate. If the price that they offer still too high, just start walk away and somebody for sure will suggest better price. But don’t be rude, negotiate in polite way :).

Entering temples

Many temples entrance are based on donations (but not all), but nobody regulates it. So local people living around already have “donation amount” that can ask from you before entering. They present themselves like workers, responsible people and collects money (where it goes nobody knows). In some places amount is quite normal 10 000 Rp per person, but in some temples they ask hundreds of Rupiahs just for entering, then additional money for parking. You won‘t get any tickets for sure – like it‘s donation.

If you want to enter without donation – people won‘t allow you. Most of the time in such places gathering 5-10 local men, so trying to negotiate with them or say that it’s donation based and it’s not must to pay, it’s impossible. We had situation when “workers” asked from each of us ~60 000 Rp for entrance and separately for motorbike parking. For us it was too big amount and we told like it’s donation based we will leave how much we can. They didn’t agree with that, became angry and told that we need to pay how much they said. Other guys saw that we try to negotiate and don’t pay at once, started to gathering around – trying to frighten us. We could just go inside but we started to think that they can damage our motorbike like revenge after we will come back. So we decided just leave that place and continue our trip to other place. Even if they saw that we won’t pay and leaving they didn’t suggest us lower price.

Entering beaches

As well to enter many beaches you will need to pay plus pay for parking – situation the same like with temples. It’s not legal, but local people try to earn money like this. They gathering together around and won’t let you go inside till you won’t pay – so just don’t be too brave. If you want to come back to the same place you will need to pay again, no matter if they will say that you need to pay just once.

Also, remember that nothing is free. You can see some bunks in the beach and nobody will be around to inform you that if you want to use them, you will need to pay. People will come to you when you will decide to leave and ask quite big amount of money. Will start to explain you about more hours you was using it than it was.

About how works motorbikes scammers you can read here.

Extra tip for safe travel in Lombok

Beware buying local alcohol from your “new friendly friends” (it’s common in all Indonesia). They can suggest you cocktail, try local drink and etc. Seems adventurous to drink something that it’s forbidden BUT there cases when people died after drinking alcohol in Indonesia. People are mixing or make the alcohol be diluted with methanol. You know that it’s very dangerous? You can google some news about it. Some insights here.

All trips will be safe if you won’t over value yourself and will hear, follow advice and warnings. Don’t be brave – be smart and wise before deciding to do something and your journey will be just amazing!

P.S. If you need a guide in Lombok island, I can recommend Hendra.


Travel tips for traveling in Lombok
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